The government has announced some of the most ambitious upgrades to UK infrastructure in a generation, from a national electric vehicle charging network and High-Speed Rail to a nationwide 5G mobile network.
Yet infrastructure is much more than just the mega-projects. Infrastructure is an interconnected system of systems that provides the foundation for our society. It does more than just provide water, power or transport; it helps to make cities liveable, boost quality of life and fuel growth, productivity and prosperity.
So the success of our future society hinges in part on our ability to manage all of our infrastructure, new and existing, as a set of complementary systems working together to achieve positive outcomes for every part of our country.
From how we travel to how we communicate, the use of big data now underpins efforts to improve great swathes of our daily lives. Excitingly, we’re only scratching the surface of what we can achieve when we unlock the value of data in the built environment. So, we need a long-term view of how we deliver better outcomes for people by making the most of our infrastructure data, using new technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
A key to this is to build an integrated, digital picture of our infrastructure, underpinned by accurate location data. The vision is not to create a huge singular digital model of the entire built environment. Rather, it is envisaged we will develop an ecosystem of digital twins that can be joined together by sharing data securely. This would help unlock the economic and social value of all our existing and future infrastructure.
The central value proposition of this transformation in information management is that better decisions, based on better data will lead to better outcomes for the public per whole-life pound. And secure, resilient interoperability of data is at the heart of this.
Location-based infrastructure data is a rich resource for our digital economy, spurring thousands of new businesses and services offering everything from predictive healthcare and mobility, to personalised insurance. It is a vision that would enable infrastructure to drive social and economic improvement across the country.